O Brother, Where Bart Thou?
"O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' 21st season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 13, 2009. In this episode, Bart goes on a quest to get a baby brother out of jealousy of the sisterly bond Lisa has with Maggie.
The Simpson family stays at home during a blizzard. The weather is too wild to play outside and the power goes out, so Bart participates in a pretend fashion show put on by Lisa and Maggie. When he notices the bond shared by the two girls, Lisa suggests that he is jealous because he does not have a brother. That night, Bart dreams about being in a park (called Bro-Town USA) with the Smothers Brothers, the Marx Brothers, the Blues Brothers, the Smith Brothers, the Wright Brothers, the Mario Brothers, the Mannings (Cooper, Eli and Peyton), and the Terwiliger brothers (Sideshow Bob and Cecil). Bart awakens with the realization that he wants a baby brother.
After getting turned down by Homer (who gives a lengthy monologue detailing why daughters are better to have than sons), Bart consults with his friends at the bus stop. Nelson advises Bart to trick Marge and Homer into having a baby the same way Nelson's mom tried to trick former basketball player Charles Barkley. Bart's first attempt is to make them a romantic dinner, but Marge and Homer are too stuffed to feel amorous. In his second attempt, Bart leaves a kama sutra DVD in his parents' bedroom, but the two end up sore after emulating the sex positions. Frustrated, he seeks the advice of Dolph, Jimbo, and Kearney, who tell him to hide Marge's birth control pills. Bart replaces Marge's birth control pills with Tic Tacs (just as he did with Mrs. Krabappel's in "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie") and discards the Tic Tacs container that now has the birth control pills inside, which Nelson finds and eats (giving the bully mood swings due to the estrogen ingestion). Marge catches Bart tampering with her pills and he confesses that he wants a brother. Despite feeling bad for Bart, Marge explains that she and Homer are fine with just three kids—Marge also points out that even if she and Homer did end up having another baby, it might end up being a girl instead of a boy, resulting in Bart having three sisters. Bart decides to go to the local orphanage, but he's turned away due for being too young to adopt a child, but a young boy named Charlie follows him home.
Bart and Charlie do brotherly things together, including playing pranks on Principal Skinner and hanging out at the Kwik-E-Mart. When Lisa insists that Charlie be returned to the orphanage, Bart disregards her and takes Charlie to see a horror movie titled Sever V. The movie terrifies Charlie, which makes Bart realize that being an older brother requires responsibility. On their way back from the movie, Chief Wiggum tries to apprehend Charlie, but the two boys escape and hide in a snowbank. Back in the snowbank, Lisa pleads with Bart to do the right thing and let Charlie be legally adopted by another family. When the children are sealed in by a snowplow (by Barney riding on his Plow King truck), Bart and Charlie urinate on the snow to melt it and open an escape tunnel, much to Lisa's disgust. Charlie is later adopted by a family with six girls, who all treat him like their personal fashion doll much to Charlie's dismay. To cheer Bart up, Homer takes him to see Sever V.
The Smothers Brothers (Tom and Dick), Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Cooper Manning and Huell Howser all guest starred as themselves in this episode. Jordan Nagai appeared as Charlie, who pretended to be Bart's brother, while Kim Cattrall made her second Simpsons appearance, voicing Bart's imaginary third sister. Showrunner Al Jean said having the Smothers Brothers, who sing over the end credits, on the show was "a dream come true". The three Mannings recorded their parts in New Orleans under the supervision of The Simpsons writer Tim Long. Jean said the staff liked Peyton's work on Saturday Night Live, "and Cooper is really funny, too. They were really good [in the episode]." Cooper commented on recording the episode: "It took 20 minutes tops. I did enjoy the experience. [...] You can screw up as much as you want. You just do your lines over and over for a couple of takes, then throw some fake laughs in there. All three of us doing it at the same time on three different microphones. Yeah, I thought it was a lot of fun." Nagai, who starred in the animated film Up, recorded his dialogue alongside Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart. John Frink was promoted to executive producer in this episode.
The episode was viewed by 7.11 million people with a Nielsen Rating of 3.2/8 and came in second on the Animation Domination lineup slightly behind Family Guy's "Business Guy" which had 7.68 million viewers and was second in its timeslot. The Simpsons was the third most viewed episode on Fox, after Family Guy and Bones. The episode was 3rd ranked on Fox in the 18-49 rating after Family Guy and Glee and made it at 21 in all. IGN's Robert Canning gave the episode a 7.6/10, saying "The episode did well by sticking to one main story instead of adding a weaker "B" storyline to fill the half hour." The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ calling it "another fine outing".
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